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www.elsevier.com/locate/physa

Zhi-Yuan Sua, Tzuyin Wub,

a

Department of Information Management, Chia Nan University of Pharmacy & Science, Tainan 717, Taiwan, ROC

b

Department of Mechanical Engineering, National Taiwan University, Taipei 106, Taiwan, ROC

Received 16 November 2006; received in revised form 5 January 2007

Available online 1 March 2007

Abstract

In this study, sequences of musical notes from various pieces of music are converted into one-variable random walks

(here termed music walks). Quantitative measurements of the properties of each musical composition are then performed

by applying Hurst exponent and Fourier spectral analyses on these music-walk sequences. Our results show that music

shares the similar fractal properties of a fractional Brownian motion (fBm). That is, music displays an anti-persistent trend

in its tone changes (melody) over decades of musical notes; and music sequence exhibits generally the 1=f b -type spectrum

(fractal property), with apparently two different b values in two different temporal scales.

r 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Music walk; Fractal; Fractional Brownian motion (fBm); Long-range correlation; Hurst exponent; Power spectrum

1. Introduction

There are almost as many styles of music as there are composers, as each composer imparts their own

creative preferences and ideas when working on a composition. However, beyond this variety and

individuality, are there rules or an underlying structure that essentially differentiates a musical work from

meaningless collections of notes? This hypothesis can be investigated through quantitative analysis of the

fractal properties of musical compositions. Although the mathematical theory of music is rather deep and

complicated [1], quantitative study can nevertheless be performed by appealing to the notion of fractional

Brownian motion (fBm) and Fourier spectral analysis. Interestingly, as disclosed in this study, the results show

that music exhibits the ubiquitous property of long-term correlation (fractal) over decades of notes in two

apparently different scaling ranges. This underlying structure may explain why music sounds generally

pleasing, and shows how music imitates the harmony of nature.

2. Literature review

Music is conventionally dened as an ordered arrangement of sounds of different acoustic frequencies

(pitches, tones) in succession (melody), of sounds in combination (harmony), and of sounds spaced in

Corresponding author. Tel.: +886 2 33662708; fax: +886 2 23631755.

0378-4371/$ - see front matter r 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

doi:10.1016/j.physa.2007.02.079

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temporal succession (rhythm) [2]. An individual pitch (or tone) does not by itself produce music; it is the

melody (successive changes in pitch) and rhythm (successive changes in tone duration) that are the two

essential elements of music. The arithmetical relationships of notes in harmony was speculated upon at length

by numerologists in the middle Ages, and it has been known for thousands of years that notes of a frequency

ratio 2:1 produce the octave. Much of the theoretical and experimental work about music and tuning was

performed in between 15th and 17th centuries. For example, in dividing an octave, one of the most popular

methods considered desirable (though not essential) in order to play a musical composition harmonically in all

keys is the equal temperament rule [1,2]. If f 0 denotes the pitch (frequency) of the base note (e.g. middle C, a

note an octave higher than the base note has a pitch ratio f =f 0 2 with reference to the base note. In the equal

temperament rule, an octave is divided into 12 geometrically equal intervals in pitch (i.e., the 7 white and 5

black keys on a piano) according to:

f i =f 0 2i=12 .

(1)

Thus a semitone is represented by the pitch interval i 1, a full tone by i 2, a minor third by i 3, a major

third by i 4, a fourth by i 5, a diminished fth by i 6, a sonorous fth by i 7 and an octave by i 12.

In such a calibration, each note has a frequency ratio (with reference to the base note) of approximately a ratio

of small integers. For instance, a fourth (i 5) has a ratio of 25=12 1:3348 43; a fth (i 7) has a ratio of

27=12 1:4983 32. The exception is the diminished fth (i 6), which has a ratio 26=12 1:4142 1000=707,

which is obviously not a ratio of small integers. This note interval has traditionally been considered dissonant

and thus has rarely been used in classical compositions [2].

Recent analysis of musical structure has revealed evidence of a long-range scaling property similar to that

found in natural landscapes, such as the proles of mountains, coastlines, etc. [3]. By performing power

spectral analysis upon the audio signals recorded from various selected pieces of different music styles

(classical, rock, jazz and blues), Voss and Clarke [4,5] have shown that the power spectra of both the

instantaneous loudness and the frequency uctuations (roughly approximating to the melody) of music vary

approximately as 1=f , a typical characteristic of a scaling noise found in electronic components [6,7]. Such a

tendency has also been conrmed by Schroeder [8] and Campbell [9], whose results imply the existence of a

certain long-range correlation, uctuating in quantity according to piece and style, over a major part of the

music.

That music shows a 1=f -spectrum is not greatly surprising, because 1=f 0 -dependence signal (random noise)

sounds meaningless, while 1=f 2 -dependence signal (Brownian noise) would sound a little bit dull [10].

Therefore, 1=f -noise shows a greater correlation in adjacent signal values than random noise and a weaker

correlation when compared with Brownian noise [11]; and the property of 1=f -dependence signal appears to

serve as a compromise between too little and too much surprise, randomness or musicality in a musical

composition. Music is a blend of randomness and orderliness. Consequently, 1=f -signal is a good candidate

for stochastic music composition [1215].

Several researchers have made use of quantitative methods in order to study the properties of music. Hsu

and Hsu [16,17] (see also Ref. [2]) analyzed the variations in pitch interval (the i dened in Eq. (1)) between

successive notes in a series of music scores composed by Bach and Mozart, and were able to show that the

incidence frequency (the frequency of appearance of each pitch interval) F approximately shows a power-law

relationship, F / iD . The value of the exponent D for each different score varies between 1 and 3 and is not

an integer; in other words, the incidence of change in acoustic frequency in a section of a music score exhibits

fractal geometry. The authors also considered the use of this fractal property in an attempt to reduce the

length of a composition while still being able to maintain its style.

In a recent study, Shi [18] applied two different types of correlation analyses, frequency dependent and

frequency independent, to examine the music sequences converted from folk songs and piano pieces. His

results indicated that music sequences have a long-range power-law behavior in both analyses, and that the

fundamental principle of music is the obtaining of a balance between repetition and contrast. Further,

Bigerelle and Iost [19] applied the variance method to study the fractal dimensions in 180 musical works of

various styles. Based on their statistical results, they proposed that various music pieces could be categorized

by fractal dimension. Madison [20] used a similar approach to study different musical scores, and found that

the Hurst exponent plays an important role in examining the emotional expression of a musical performance.

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The study by Manaris et al. [21] of a 220-piece corpus (including baroque, classical, romantic, 12-tone, jazz,

rock, DNA strings, and random music) revealed that esthetically pleasing music might be describable under

the ZipfMandelbrot law. Gunduz and Gunduz [22] studied the mathematical structures of six songs by

treating them as complex systems. The key approach of their analysis was to calculate the fractal dimension of

a scattering diagram constructed from the melody of the six songs.

In this paper, the sequence of musical notes is converted into a one-variable random walk (here termed the

music walk). The resulting graph appears to resemble a mountainous landscape in prole view, with jagged

ridges of all lengths (scales), from minor bumps to enormous peaks. The fractal property of the music walk is

then explored by adopting the notion of fBm proposed by Mandelbrot and Van Ness [23], whose description is

given in the following section.

3. Properties of fBm

One common method for extracting hidden structure information from a uctuating time-series in signal

processing is to calculate its power spectrum distribution. By applying the Fourier transform to a given

continuous time series xt, the time-distribution signal is converted into a frequency-distribution one

Z

xf / xtei2pft dt

(2)

and the power spectrum of the signal xt is obtained as

Sx f / jxf j2 .

(3)

Another useful measurement of a time series is the autocorrelation function, C x t, which is dened as

C x t hxt xt ti,

(4)

where hi denotes averaging the quantity over time t. The autocorrelation function is a measure of how well the

data set correlates with itself after a time lag t. The power spectrum and autocorrelation function of a time

signal are not independent; they are related by the WienerKhintchine relations [24]

Z

Sx f / C x t cos2pf t dt,

(5)

Z

C x t /

S x f cos2pf t df .

(6)

The most commonly encountered uctuating signal is the normally distributed random noise (also termed

Gaussian white noise), wt. The autocorrelation function for such noise is a delta function dt; that is,

successive signals in random noise are totally uncorrelated. The power spectrum distribution of random noise

is at (Sw f / f 0 , a constant), indicating an equal composition of components of all frequencies. Integrating

random noise with time then results in a new uctuating time signal,

Z

xw t wt dt,

(7)

where xw t can be regarded as the instantaneous location of a walker who takes steps to the right or left

along a one-dimensional line, with each step size determined by the successive signal values of a random noise

wt. Such motion is termed a random walk or Brownian motion, named after Robert Brown, a Scottish

botanist. It is a well-known fact in statistics that the average distance traveled within a time period T for a

random walk is given by the diffusion law

Dxw T hjxw t T xw tj2 i1=2 / T 1=2 .

(8)

The power spectrum of Brownian motion is therefore S xw f / 1=f 2 . In contrast to random noise wt,

successive values in a random walk signal xw t are strongly correlated.

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Mandelbrot and Van Ness [23] generalized expression (8) into the form

DxH T hjxH t T xH tj2 i1=2 / T H ,

(9)

with 0 oHo1, H being the Hurst exponent. The corresponding motion (time signal) xH t is now generally

termed fBm. For H41=2, the graph of fBm xH t is less rugged-looking, or smoother, than that of Brownian

motion itself (H 12); and xH t tends to increase (decrease) in the future if it is increasing (decreasing) in the

past, i.e., showing the property of persistence in the increments of signal values Dx. For Ho12, the graph of

xH t is more rugged-looking and less smooth than that of Brownian motion; and xH t tends to decrease

(increase) in the future if it is increasing (decreasing) in the past, i.e., showing a trend of anti-persistence in the

increments of signal values Dx. When H 12, the signal is restored to the conventional Brownian motion,

xw t, and increments of adjacent signal values (not the signal values themselves) in a Brownian motion are

totally uncorrelated (random). The power spectrum of an fBm has the property

SxH f / 1=f b

(10)

with the power b related to the Hurst exponent H by the relationship b 2H 1 [25,26], and 1obo3 for

0oHo1.

According to the WienerKhintchine relations, the autocorrelation function cxH t of the time series xH t

having a 1=f b power spectrum with b close to 1 also exhibits a power-law decaying behavior. The slowly

decaying autocorrelation function implies that the time series are self-correlated over a rather long period of

time; that is, the signal at any time is still related in a certain way to a signal appearing long before. The time

signal is scale invariant; such a uctuating signal is simply the time analogy of many naturally found selfsimilar geometries, which are now categorized under the name fractals. The ne structure of fractal

geometry, when magnied, looks like the structure as a whole, and in a fractal time signal, a short time section

of the signal has the same statistical properties as the whole signal. Theoretically, the fractal dimension (boxcounting dimension) D of the landscape traced by one-variable fBm and its Hurst exponent H is related by

D 2 H [2529].

4. Music walk as an fBm

Choosing an arbitrary note (e.g. c, a note an octave below middle C as a base note, all notes in a score can

then subsequently be digitized and labeled by the index i, as dened in the equal temperament rule, for

example, c with i 0, # c with i 1, d with i 2; . . . etc. Also, similar to the work of Shi [18], when

considering the difference in tone duration of each note, the shortest time in the score is chosen as the step unit

1

of the time-wise coordinate. That is, if the shortest time (beat) in a music score is 16

note, then the index value

1

representing the pitch of a 4 note is repeated 4 times when constructing the time sequence from that music

piece. The entire music score is thus converted into a reminiscence of a random walk (music walk), xn. The

sequence xn is simply the discrete version of the continuous time signal xt, with n being the number of notes

(in multiplicity of the note with smallest time, as explained above) representing the elapsed time in a musical

movement, and x being the value of the index i, which represents the pitch of the note. Therefore, both the

melody (changes in pitch) and the rhythm (changes in tone duration) of a composition are taken into account

in the digitized sequence xn. Note that Hsu and Hsu [16,17] did not include any effect of tone duration in

their analysis. The typical xn curves are shown in Fig. 1; these are the resulting curves from the conversion of

the violin scores from Gavotte written by Gossec, Le Cygne written by Saint-Saens and Ave Maria written by

Bach and Gounod. As can be seen from Fig. 1, these plots resemble the fractal proles of skyscrapers, or

mountain ridges if x and n are properly scaled.

Characteristic of the uctuating signal xn is then studied by calculating the Hurst exponent H and the

power b of the power spectrum distribution for various music-walk sequences converted from various music

pieces: (I) Gavotte by Gossec; (II) Le Cygne by Saint-Saens; (III) Ave Maria by Bach and Gounod; (IV)

Beethoven, Op. 24, No. 5, Sonata for piano (IVa) and violin (IVb); (V) Mozart, Op. 70, No. 1, duo violins,

violin 1 (Va) and violin 2 (Vb); (VI) Pachelbels Canon and Gigue, 3 violins and continuo, violin 1 (VIa) and

violin 2 (VIb); (VII) Bach, J. C., six duets, No. 1, duo violins, violin 1 (VIIa) and violin 2 (VIIb). In order to

avoid the difculty that might be encountered in selecting the proper key note from a chord, the music scores

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200

175

Gavotte

Le Cygne

Ave Maria

150

x (n)

125

100

75

50

25

0

0

100

200

300

n

400

500

600

Fig. 1. Music-walk sequences obtained from the violin score of three different pieces of music, Gavotte, Le Cygne and Ave Maria. For

clarity, the data values of Le Cygne and Gavotte have been shifted uniformly upward by 40 and 80 units, respectively.

Table 1

Values of the Hurst exponent H and exponent b of the power spectrum obtained from various music-walk sequences (short time-interval

analysis)

Short time-interval

analysis

II

III

IV(a)

IV(b)

V(a)

V(b)

VI(a)

VI(b)

VII(a)

VII(b)

H

b

2H 1

Deviation

0.35

1.80

1.70

5.88%

0.38

1.67

1.76

5.11%

0.22

1.43

1.44

0.69%

0.38

1.74

1.76

1.14%

0.34

1.83

1.68

8.93%

0.22

1.50

1.44

4.17%

0.22

1.64

1.44

13.89%

0.23

1.57

1.46

7.53%

0.26

1.55

1.52

1.97%

0.32

1.54

1.64

6.10%

0.30

1.51

1.60

5.63%

we choose to study in this paper are all violin scores (except IVa). The Hurst exponent H is obtained by taking

logarithm of both sides of the discrete version of Eq. (9) to give

log sDx K H log jDnj,

(11)

where sDx is the standard deviation of the increments in pitch Dx corresponding to the interval size (number

of notes) Dn, and K is a constant. Similarly, the b value is just the slope of the straight line obtained from leastsquare curve tting of the power spectrum (in logarithmic scales) of the music-walk sequence xn. In this

study, power spectra are obtained by applying discrete version of the Fourier transform (2) to music-walk

sequences. Many commercialized numerical software packages provide subroutines for calculating power

spectrum from given time sequence, such as MATLAB.

The results are summarized in Tables 1 and 2. Graphical representations of the results from the rst three

music pieces I, II and III are shown in Figs. 24, respectively. Part (a) of each gure shows the root-meansquare deviation of the music sequence, sDx; and part (b) is the power spectrum of the sequence. The sharp

rise or drop in the values of sDx near the end of the sequence reects the nite-number-of-data effect and

should be excluded from analysis. The solid lines superimposed on the graphs are obtained from least-square

curve tting of the data points in the appropriate intervals, and whose slopes represent respectively the Hurst

exponent H of the graph in (a), and exponent b of the power spectrum in (b).

From music sequence I (Fig. 2(a)), for example, two different scaling regions can be clearly identied in the

graph. Region with short-time scale designates that the interval between musical notes is no more than a few

bars, while large time scale means musical notes are tens or even hundreds of bars away. The values of the

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Table 2

Values of the Hurst exponent H and exponent b of the power spectrum obtained from various music-walk sequences (large time-interval

analysis)

Large time-interval

analysis

II

IIIa

IV(a)

IV(b)

V(a)

V(b)

VI(a)

VI(b)

VII(a)

VII(b)

H

b

2H 1

Deviation

0.0175

0.93

1.035

10.14%

0.0005

1.08

1.001

7.89%

0.22

1.43

1.44

0.69%

0.0050

1.01

1.01

0.00%

0.0075

0.92

1.015

9.36%

0.0009

1.09

1.0018

9.03%

0.0082

0.91

1.0164

10.47%

0.0013

1.17

1.0026

16.70%

0.0069

1.09

1.0138

7.52%

0.0043

0.91

1.0086

9.78%

0.0020

1.10

1.004

9.56%

a

Music sequence III has only one scaling region; hence the data listed here for this particular sequence are the same as that from the

short time-interval analysis listed in Table 1.

Fig. 2. (a) Root-mean-square deviation diagram and the associated Hurst exponent for the music-walk sequence Gavotte; (b) power

spectrum diagram and the associated exponent b for the music-walk sequence Gavotte.

Fig. 3. (a) Root-mean-square deviation diagram and the associated Hurst exponent for the music-walk sequence Le Cygne; (b) power

spectrum diagram and the associated exponent b for the music-walk sequence Le Cygne.

Hurst exponent for the graph in these two sections are 0.35 and 0.0175, respectively. The Hurst exponent is

not equal to 0.5, implying a certain correlation between increments of successive data values in the sequence.

For music sequences, these increments represent the difference in pitch between adjacent notes, which is

commonly referred to as the melody of the music. Thus, it is reasonable to assert that music piece I exhibits

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Fig. 4. (a) Root-mean-square deviation diagram and the associated Hurst exponent for the music-walk sequence Ave Maria; (b) power

spectrum diagram and the associated exponent b for the music-walk sequence Ave Maria.

an anti-persistent correlation in melody in both short-scale and large-scale measures. On the other hand, the

value of the Hurst exponent in the short-scale range (0.35) is somewhat closer to 0.5, indicating that the music

sequence still preserves some degree of randomness in melody (changes of pitches) over an interval of a bar or

two. Several bars later, the Hurst exponent drops to a value near 0, meaning that the melody of the music

sequence exhibits a nearly perfect long-range correlation over the entire movement. That is, the melodic

motion of the music piece at one time is still correlated with that in the long past before. This might perhaps

reect the underlying structure of all musicbeing full of variation in short measures while still preserving

coherency in the long run. Our present analysis clearly discloses this genuine feature of music.

From Fig. 3(a) it can be observed that the H value (0.38) of music II in the short-time scale region is

relatively larger than that of music I. As the Hurst exponent H and the fractal dimension D of the curve are

related by equation D 2 H, a larger Hurst exponent implies a smoother music sequence, xn, and less

obvious uctuation in pitch over the examined time period. This can be proven by inspecting Fig. 1 where the

curve of music II appears smoother locally than that of the previous one. As in music I, there are two different

scaling regions in music II. The Hurst exponent corresponding to the large-time scale is 0.0005 (see the right

part of Fig. 3(a)), showing again a nearly perfect long-range correlation in the melodic motion. Note in this

diagram that the mild oscillations at the end of the curve indicate repetitions of measures in this musical piece,

suggesting a periodic feature in the structure of the music sequence. Admittedly, it has already been observed

from Fig. 1 that music II is more cyclic than music I.

Unlike previous two pieces of music, music sequence III shows only one scaling region (see Fig. 4(a)), and its

Hurst exponent value is about 0.22, the smallest among three. That music III has the smallest Hurst exponent

among the three works implies its sequence xn is more rugged in appearance, with more noticeable

uctuations in pitch. Furthermore, the Hurst exponent 0.22 is further away from the value 0.5, indicating that

music sequence III is somewhat less random in pitch changes (i.e., shows greater correlation in the increments

of adjacent values in the sequence), and hence lacks of diversity in melodic motion than the aforementioned

two music sequences I and II. In fact, among the three musical pieces, music III sounds relatively monotonous.

Therefore, the melody of a musical work can indeed be quantied and described by calculating the Hurst

exponent of its score.

The power spectra of these three musical pieces are given in part (b) of Figs. 24. Basically, all energy

spectra show the power-law 1=f b tendency with b40. The gradual increase of the spectral energy toward lowfrequency end of the spectrum is caused by the long-tailedness effect (slowly decaying autocorrelation

function) of the music sequencea typical behavior of a scaling noise with long-range correlation. Closer

inspection suggests that both music sequences I and II also display two different scaling regions in their

spectra, similar to that exhibited by the sDx curve. The dividing frequency of these two regions can be

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estimated by locating the turning point of the sDx curve (the location Dnc where the sDx curve changes its

slope); then the dividing frequency is roughly 1=Dnc . The right side of the sDx diagram represents region

with large time scale and hence corresponds to the low frequency part of the spectrum diagram; likewise, the

left side of the sDx diagram is associated with the high frequency part of the spectrum diagram. Either way,

the b value calculated from both high and low frequency parts of the spectrum approximately satises the

equation b 2H 1 (see Tables 1 and 2), indicating that music sequence indeed possesses the properties

of an fBm.

The rest of the music pieces IV(a,b)VII(a,b) studied in this paper are all duos. Results are summarized in

Table 1 for short time-interval (high-frequency) analysis and Table 2 for large time-interval (low-frequency)

analysis. It can be ascertained from these tables that the corresponding H and b values of the two musical

parts in a duet are very close. The result suggests that as composers compile the two music parts in a duet,

eventually a similar fractal structure and dimension would be formed. The theoretical reason for this is not

yet clear. The results here may be coincidental and analyses of more samples are required for validation.

Additionally, from Tables 1 and 2 it can be observed that both the H value and the b value satisfy the

relation b 2H 1 well, which is demonstrated by the minor deviation percentages shown in the last rows

of the tables.

Noticeably, the Hurst exponent values of all music-walk sequences analyzed in this study are smaller than

0.5 (an anti-persistent trend in melodic motion), and this may be a typical characteristic of music in general. It

is doubtful whether a music score with a Hurst exponent far greater than 0.5 exists at all, because a Hurst

exponent over 0.5 indicates persistency in the melodic motion of the music; that is, the tones of adjacent

musical notes are well too positively correlated, making the music lacking in surprises and sound boring.

The fact that the spectrum exponent b of each music sequence ranges between 0 and 2 reveals that music is

neither unrelated random noise nor Brownian noise, with the strongest correlation, but is something else inbetween, which integrates randomness and orderliness in tones arrangement. This echoes the properties of an

anti-persistent fBm. In addition, it can be found that almost all musical works analyzed in this paper exhibit

two different scaling regions, implying that same piece of music would differ in correlation and characteristic

under different time scales. This is quite understandable. We have all possibly experienced a certain piece of

music in which several measures demonstrate considerable variation while the whole movement has a

consistent musical style.

Examining the b values for all music pieces studied here, it can be seen that the results are remarkably

consistent, 1:4obo1:8 for high-frequency area of the spectra. The values are somewhat closer to the

Brownian-noise value (b 2, which corroborates the results of Boon and Decroly [30]. This observation also

conrms the qualitative results of Nettheim based on the analysis of ve melodic lines (Bach, Mozart,

Beethoven, Schubert and Chopin) [31]. Nevertheless, in the low-frequency area, the b values eventually all turn

out to be close to 1, that of a typical 1=f -noise having perfect long-range correlation.

Finally, it has been mentioned before that two pitches are in harmony if they have a ratio of small integers.

Therefore, when two tones are being played simultaneously, it is the pitch difference between them that

determines whether or not they are in harmonyfor example, the combination of two tones with pitch

interval i 7 (a perfect fth) is sonorous, while a difference of pitch interval i 6 (a diminished fth) is

dissonant. Therefore, the sequences of pitch differences obtained by deduction between the two musical parts

in the works of Beethoven, Mozart, Pachelbel, and Bach (music sequences IV(a,b)VII(a,b)) are processed

again with the above Hurst exponent and power spectral analyses. The results from the Beethovens work

(music IV(a,b)) are shown in Fig. 5. Since the sequence derived from the pitch differences between two musical

parts also displays the feature of power-law scaling and satises the equation b 2H 1, it can be deduced

that the progression of harmonic in a duet is also of a fractal nature. Values of respective Hurst exponent H

and frequency spectrum exponent b are given in Tables 3 and 4.

5. Conclusion

The fractal nature of music has been constructed by applying the Hurst exponent and Fourier spectral

analyses to the music-walk sequences converted from various music scores. Both the root-mean-square

deviation and the power spectrum of the music-walk sequences exhibit a power-law scaling property, a

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Fig. 5. (a) Root-mean-square deviation diagram and the associated Hurst exponent for the sequence deduced from the pitch differences

between two musical parts of Beethovens work Op. 24 No. 5; (b) power spectrum diagram and the associated exponent b for the sequence

deduced from the pitch differences between two musical parts of Beethovens work Op. 24 No. 5.

Table 3

Values of the Hurst exponent H and exponent b of the power spectrum for the sequence deduced from the pitch differences between two

musical parts of various duets (short time-interval analysis)

Short time-interval analysis

IV(a)IV(b)

V(a)V(b)

VI(a)VI(b)

VII(a)VII(b)

H

b

2H 1

Deviation

0.29

1.60

1.58

1.27%

0.23

1.44

1.46

1.37%

0.33

1.51

1.66

9.04%

0.14

1.26

1.28

1.56%

Table 4

Values of the Hurst exponent H and exponent b of the power spectrum for the sequence deduced from the pitch differences between two

musical parts of various duets (large time-interval analysis)

Large time-interval analysis

IV(a)IV(b)

V(a)V(b)

VI(a)VI(b)

VII(a)VII(b)

H

b

2H 1

Deviation

0.0034

0.99

1.0068

1.67%

0.0029

1.04

1.0058

3.40%

0.0102

1.15

1.0204

12.70%

0.0152

1.03

1.0304

0.04%

resemblance to the long-range correlation found in many naturally occurring uctuating phenomena. Music is

self-similar, both in audition (by listening to the successive changes in the acoustic frequency) and in visual

representation (by looking at the up-and-down uctuation of notes on the staffs). The melodic arrangement of

the entire movement of a music score is, to some extent, similar to the tone variation in just a few bars. The

lack of a coherent fractal structure in a random uctuation is one of the key points that essentially discern

noise from music.

Closer investigation shows that music-walk sequences generally display a scaling property in two apparently

different temporal scales with two different Hurst exponents. Short time-interval analysis gives typical Hurst

exponent values H 0:220:4; meaning that the tone change in music is normally anti-persistent in trend while

at the same time still preserving certain degree of randomness in its progression over a few measures. Large

time-interval analysis gives H 0, which results in a near 1=f -type power spectrum, signifying a perfect longrange correlation of melodic motion over the entire musical movement. This may reect the basic idea about

ARTICLE IN PRESS

Z.-Y. Su, T. Wu / Physica A 380 (2007) 418428

427

musictone variation in short measures makes the music abundant in expression, while long-term correlation

connects hundreds of bars of different melodious messages into a coherent piece of music. The fact the

exponents of the power spectra of all music-walk sequences studied here range between 0 and 2 once again

makes evident that music integrates both randomness and certainty like many other natural phenomena do.

It is also found that the Hurst exponent values of the musical works analyzed in this study are all smaller

than 0.5, indicating that music can be commonly treated as an anti-persistent fBm. This may be a typical

characteristic of music in general. Because a Hurst exponent greater than 0.5 implies the persistency of tone

changes in music, one part of music would be too similar to other parts in melodic motion, making the music

lacking in variability and sound monotonous.

The way in which music communicates with the mind may well not be realized in entirety until we achieve a

thorough understanding of how humans mentality, sense and sensitivity are commanded by the brain. We do,

however, begin to gain knowledge about the universality of the underlying structures embedded in diverse

works of nature. If music is invented to mimic a certain harmony in nature, then mountains are songs; rivers

are lyrics. Modern musicians use the concepts of fractals and chaos in their compositions [3237]; music

composed in this way must of course be part of the fractal scene.

References

[1] C. Madden, Fractals in Music: Introductory Mathematics for Musical Analysis, High Art Press, Salt Lake City, 1999.

[2] K.J. Hsu, Fractal geometry of music: from bird songs to Bach, in: A.J. Crilly, R.A. Earnshaw, H. Jones (Eds.), Applications of

Fractals and Chaos, Springer, New York, 1993, pp. 2139.

[3] B.B. Mandelbrot, The Fractal Geometry of Nature, Freeman, New York, 1983.

[4] R.F. Voss, J. Clarke, Nature 258 (1975) 317.

[5] R.F. Voss, J. Clarke, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 63 (1) (1978) 258.

[6] B.J. West, M.F. Shlesinger, Am. Sci. 78 (1990) 40.

[7] R.F. Voss, Fractals in nature: from characterization to simulation, in: H.-O. Peitgen, D. Saupe (Eds.), The Science of Fractal Image,

Springer, New York, 1988, pp. 2170.

[8] M. Schroeder, Nature 325 (1987) 765.

[9] P. Campbell, Nature 325 (1987) 766.

[10] M. Schroeder, Fractals, Chaos, Power Laws: Minutes from an Innite Paradise, Freeman, New York, 1990.

[11] M. Gardner, Scientic American 238 (4) (1978) 16 (also see M. Gardner, Fractal Music, Hypercards, W.H. Freeman, New York,

1992).

[12] A.T. Scarpelli, Per. Comput. 3 (7) (1979) 17.

[13] D.E. Thomsen, Sci. News 117 (1980) 187.

[14] C. Dodge, C.R. Bahn, Byte June (1986) 185.

[15] C. Dodge, Comput. Music J. 12 (3) (1988) 10.

[16] K.J. Hsu, A.J. Hsu, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 87 (1990) 938.

[17] K.J. Hsu, A.J. Hsu, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 88 (1991) 3507.

[18] Y. Shi, Fractals 4 (1996) 547.

[19] M. Bigerelle, A. Iost, Chaos Soliton Fract. 11 (2000) 2179.

[20] G. Madison, J. New Music Res. 29 (2000) 335.

[21] B. Manaris, D. Vaughan, C. Wagner, J. Romero, R.B. Davis, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol. 2611, Springer, Berlin, 2003,

p. 522.

[22] G. Gunduz, U. Gunduz, Physica A 357 (2005) 565.

[23] B.B. Mandelbrot, J.W. Van Ness, SIAM Rev. 10 (4) (1968) 422.

[24] F. Reif, Fundamentals of Statistical and Thermal Physics, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1965.

[25] D.L. Turcotte, Fractals and Chaos in Geology and Geophysics, second ed., Cambridge University Press, New York, 1997.

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[27] R.F. Voss, Physica D 38 (1989) 362.

[28] R.F. Voss, Random fractals: characterization and measurement, in: F. Family, T. Vicsek (Eds.), Dynamics of Fractal Surfaces, World

Scientic, Singapore, 1991, pp. 3950 (also see R.F. Voss, in: R. Pynn, A. Skjeltorp (Eds.), Scaling Phenomena in Disordered

Systems, W.H. Freeman, New York, 1985, pp. 111).

[29] R.F. Voss, Random Fractal Forgeries, in: J.E. Bresenham, R.A. Earnshaw, M.L.V. Pitteway (Eds.), Fundamental Algorithms for

Computer Graphics, Springer, New York, 1991, pp. 805835.

[30] J.P. Boon, O. Decroly, Chaos 5 (1995) 501.

[31] N. Nettheim, J. New Music Res. 21 (1992) 135.

[32] B. Fagarazzi, A fractal approach to musical composition, in: H.-O. Peitgen, J.M. Henriques, L.F. Penedo (Eds.), Fractals in the

Fundamental and Applied Sciences, Elsevier Science, New York, 1991, pp. 135146.

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[33]

[34]

[35]

[36]

[37]

M. Schroeder, Fractals in music, in: C.A. Pickover (Ed.), Fractal Horizons, St. Martins Press, New York, 1996, pp. 207223.

J. Pressing, Comput. Music J. 12 (2) (1988) 35.

M. Gogins, Comput. Music J. 15 (1) (1991) 40.

R. Bidlack, Comput. Music J. 16 (3) (1992) 33.

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